Being able to use our arms in the course of our day is absolutely vital. Every time you push something—whether it’s a heavy door, a shopping cart, or the bench press at the gym- it’s your Triceps that are throwing their considerable power into the mix.
Though rarely receiving the same emphasis and attention that our biceps get, these thick and important muscles on the underside of our upper arms are far stronger. In fact, they’re the biggest engines that power our pushing arm movements. While the biceps bend your arm and elbow inwards towards your body, it's the triceps that perform the opposite motion.
The triceps brachii are a combination of a three-headed muscle group that controls the straightening or extension of your arm. They're composed of the medial, lateral, and long head muscles- hence the “tri” origin of the name. Your triceps connect from the beginning of the forearm all the way along the underside of the upper arm and finally connect at the shoulders. They also help to stabilize your shoulder joint.
Arm dependent sports all make use of the triceps extensively. If you’re feeling any sort of tear or pain in the underside of your arm after physical activity, as in you can't lift your arms without a nasty tweak, you’ll definitely want to invest in a good stretching regimen to prevent further problems. Probably you just went too hard and had a little bit too much fun the day before with your friends. Go home and give your arm some good resting and icing time, but if the tear feels persistent, it’s always better to be safe than sorry and warm up before getting into your next workout.
Targeted stretches for your triceps increase blood flow to the muscles as well as elongating and flexing the tendons that may have constricted during the day due to lack of use at a desk job. Simply keeping your arms static out in front of you while you click a mouse button in a cubicle will decrease the mobility of your arm muscles.
Increased flexibility of the triceps will of course prevent injury when performing functional tasks in your normal life, but it will also aid in the performance of heavy weightlifting exercises like the bench and overhead press. If you’re a regular athlete, keeping your triceps in a healthy condition will reduce the risk of injury especially when playing sports like basketball, tennis, and volleyball.
Have a look below and give some of these stretches a go. Stretching out your triceps every week should become an integral part of your warm-up and flexibility routine. Whether you’re getting ready for a competitive swim meet or just want to decrease some tightness you may be feeling in your arms, start incorporating these stretches into your routine. They’re simple to do and can be accomplished in your chair, a break room at work, or in front of the TV when you get home. You’ve got nothing to lose except the time you’ll have to spend recovering from a pulled muscle down the road if neglect a consistent flexibility routine.